Genuine insights on data require a utility to be true.

June 25, 2014

Down arrow black
to make it up I can let you dunk over me


Operations Director

There is no value in just re-playing what we already know.

Tictrack and other tools are gathering all our disparate data and trying to centralise this in one place. But why? What use it is to have this in one place, other than it just scratches some OCD itch?

To be able to have insight, you need to have information on what would have happened if the variables changed. It’s not interesting that I ran 10k last Tuesday. What might be interesting is being able to articulate what would have happened to me if I’d run instead, zero kilometres, or 20 kilometres, once a week for a year.

That might be able to be calculated with some extra body weight and metabolism information - but simply “playing me back” data I already knew: there is nothing of value in this product.

Is there a framework for deciding the potential utility value in data? We must, at the very least, understand where the utility comes from.